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70-Year-Old Double-Amputee Summits Everest

70-Year-Old Double-Amputee Summits Everest

He scripted history by becoming the first double amputee to climb the world's highest peak from Nepal side and second to climb the peak.

"Climbing Mount Everest is my dream", he told AFP news agency in April.

Xia lost both legs below the knee when he was 25, after a failed attempt in the mid-1980s resulted in severe frostbite. He was part of a Chinese team turned back from the summit due to poor weather conditions.

But at the start of the year, it appeared the moment would never come for Xia.

Nepalese authorities moved a year ago to ban double amputees - along with blind and solo climbers - from attempting to reach the summit.

The ruling was struck down by Nepal's top court in March, which ruled it discriminatory towards people with disabilities. Shortly before the New Year, Nepal's government sought to ban double amputees, along with solo and blind climbers, from scaling all of the mountains within its borders unless they could obtain a doctor's written permission.

Most Everest hopefuls are escorted by a Nepali guide, meaning about 700 climbers will tread the same path to the top of the 8,848 metre (29,030 foot) peak in the coming weeks.

The same day Steve Plain, an Australian, also reached the summit, setting a speed record for climbing the highest mountain on each of the world's seven continents.

Climber Xia Boyu who lost both legs to frostbite on Everest four decades ago has finally reached the summit. Pic PRAKASH MATHEMA  AFP  Getty Images
Climber Xia Boyu who lost both legs to frostbite on Everest four decades ago has finally reached the summit. Pic PRAKASH MATHEMA AFP Getty Images

And on Monday, Xia finally achieved that dream.

Mark Joseph Inglis of New Zealand was the first double leg amputee to summit the peak, who scaled the mountain from the Chinese side in 2006. The 2016 attempt brought him close to the summit before a blizzard set in. Another climb the following year was aborted after the Nepal natural disaster.

Dawa Futi Sherpa of Imagine Trek and Expedition, which organized the climb and accompanied him up the mountain, told The Washington Post that Xia completed the climb with several other members of his team.

There were four other Chinese climbers who also summited: Liu Yi, Wu Jie, Lok Kee Siu, Ajie Hu, and Gao Li and Canadian Mikey Foreal. "I have to realise it", he said. He began January 16 with Mount Vinson in Antarctica, followed by Mount Aconcagua in South America, Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, Mount Carstensz Pyramid in Papua New Guinea, which covers Australia and Oceania, Mount Elbrus in Europe and Denali in North America.

Plain, 36, who broke his neck in a bodysurfing accident almost four years ago, climbed the 4,892m Vinson on 16 January.

"My Dad reached Everest at 8:26Nepal time!".

Xia and Plain are among 500 climbers from 38 teams attempting to reach the summit this season.

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